ANAHEIM, CALIF. – The Twins might be petitioning the league to do away with the unbalanced schedule. Or try to move to the AL West. That would get them more games with the Angels.
The Twins got their licks in on Jered Weaver and benefited from Angels bungling plays to pull away to a 9-4 victory Monday.
It was just the fourth time this season that the Twins never trailed in a game and their highest scoring game of the year.
Trevor Plouffe, Byron Buxton and Robbie Grossman hit home runs and righthander Ricky Nolasco became the first Twins starter to win three games. Los Angeles committed three errors, including two in the seventh as the Twins tacked on three more runs.
‘‘They had a couple of miscues on the defensive side and we have paid the price for that this year,’’ manager Paul Molitor said. ‘‘A lot of teams have capitalized on our defensive mistakes. And tonight it was nice to see that when we got an opportunity with extra outs we were able to get some hits and keep adding on.’’
The victory made the Twins 4-0 against the Angels, who have lost seven of their past eight games. A trip to Anaheim is just what the Twins needed. It’s the same Angels team that appeared at Target Field in April as the Twins were reeling from an 0-9 start. The Twins were 3-9 after that series was over.
‘‘Twenty wins, I probably could go through them all,’’ Molitor said when asked if this was one of the Twins’ better wins this season. ‘‘We had a fairly complete game in terms of defense was good for the most part. We got a solid start and the bullpen did its job. It’s not a lot of nights we have been able to complement all areas of our game by being efficient.’’
On Monday they slowly added to a 4-3 lead after four innings. Grossman scored as Plouffe grounded into a double play in the fifth to make it 5-3. Buxton hit his first home run of the season in the sixth, a floater down the left field line that sneaked into the seats to make the score 6-3.
Then came the seventh inning. Grossman led off with a solo home run to center, but the Twins proceeded to score two more runs as Angels shortstop Gregorio Petit committed two errors and third baseman Yunel Escobar allowed Brian Dozier to reach third on a ground out despite being within tagging range of Escobar. Dozier ended up scoring the third run of the inning.
Nolasco, 3-4, struggled to get out of innings but managed to get through six innings, giving up seven hits and three runs.
‘‘I had a little trouble putting some guys away, so I racked up a little bit of a pitch count, trying to put guys away and I ended up back in hitter’s counts,’’ Nolasco said. ‘‘But it felt good. I wasn’t trying to do too much.’’
His only 1-2-3 inning came in third, but he needed 16 pitches to get out of it because Mike Trout pulled off a 10-pitch at bat against him before flying out to center. But most of Nolasco’s encounters Monday were similar.
Giavotella led off the fourth with a single and moved to third on Todd Cunningham’s double to right-center. Petit hit a sacrifice fly to score Giavotella, and Cunningham scored on a ground out to make it 4-3. Nolasco threw 21 pitches in that inning to push his total to 80.
But he got plenty of help.
‘‘Any time you get that type of offense it’s great,’’ Nolasco said. ‘‘Hopefully we can keep it going. It’s a good way to start this little road trip we’ve got.’’